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The name (mmhmm), to be honest, is a little silly. The name also becomes a little bit cumbersome to use repeatedly in conversation, but what is it? Mmhmm is a virtual camera.

Think of it as being a TV studio control room on your computer, where you can switch inputs, apply special effects, and manage a compelling video production that you would use in videoconferences and recorded presentations.

So, who is behind the application? Phil Libin, former CEO of Evernote, founded mmhmm in April of 2020.

Cost

You may ask yourself how much it costs? The application is free for basic use, and $99 a year for the unlocked professional version. Basic also allows you to use the professional features for an hour each day. Those who were using the beta version get 3 months of professional service for free, and faculty and students can apply for a year’s worth of professional service for a year.

The Beta program ended recently, and mmhmm is available to all Mac users. Windows users need to wait a little longer but can apply to their own Beta program.

Overview

Faculty and staff may be asking if they should use the application. How does it make their lives easier and more productive? Essentially, there are two advantages this software provides. Control over the video environment, and speed of switching between video sources. So here is an overview of how mmhmm might work for you.

Stage

The central concept is of a stage. The stage is what gets transferred to other applications. The stage is the virtual camera content that surfaces on Zoom, Teams, Google Hangouts or Panopto.

Presenter

The next concept is of the presenter. The presenter controls allow you to select from multiple connected cameras. You can zoom in to crop your camera view or replace your background. Background removal works better if you have a blue or green screen.

You can select from multiple microphones and check input level. The presenter interface has several controls.

  • Away: This presents an away from desk message.
  • Pointer: Laser pointers can be used to annotate the screen content.
  • Presenter scale: The camera zooms in and out.
  • Presenter opacity: You can fade the presenter in and out.
  • Anchor: This is the quadrant of the screen to anchor the presenter.
  • Mask: Silhouette, round, and portrait effects.
  • Colorize: Hologram effect colors.

Rooms

The next concept is of Rooms. Rooms are backgrounds. There are three types:

  1. Still images: These are photos, or background colors.
    • You can upload your own images.
  2. Dynamic: These are moving backgrounds (procedurally generated).
    • You can upload your own videos.
  3. Copilot: This is a shared image for two co-presenters.

Slide Content

Slide content is what you share on the screen. Again, there are three types:

  1. Media: These are images, video, or audio.
  2. Screen share: Theses are screens (i.e. what you see on your monitor), windows, or connected devices (such as an iPad).
  3. Camera: This is your webcam, other virtual cameras, or a document camera.

There are three settings

  1. Slides off: Your slides are hidden.
  2. Shoulder: Your slides appear to one side.
  3. Full: Your slides are full screen (height of window).

Please note. PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides not fully supported yet: The workarounds for this are to either export as a series of images and import into content, or to “Present to window” and share screen.

You can apply some rather nifty special effects to those slides. Mmhmm also has tabs. Tabs are like browser tabs. You can use these for multiple presentations.

Mmhmm has an interesting service called copilot. Copilot allows two presenters to share and navigate from one set of slide content.

Recording

You can record to a.mp4 file, or record an interactive presentation: This pploads to mmhmm’s website and a private URL. When you send out the URL to a viewer, they can adjust slide view, presenter visibility, and presenter translucency as they navigate slides.

The video above is an example of how a presentation recorded with mmhmm might look.

Negatives

As with everything, there are some negatives.

The application works best with multiple monitors, providing enough real estate to guide your presentations. The application works best with a green screen (which reduces processing load). Background detection not as good as Zoom, and you may see some fringing. And lastly, the application adds processing load to your computer.

Should You Use It?

Yes - I do recommend mmhmm to all faculty and staff. It can greatly improve how you communicate virtually. You can download the application here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this also require students to be using a Mac?
No – Mac only to present/record. Those who are watching can be on any device.


Could you recommend cameras and other equipment additions that would help us work better in the mmhmm system?
Yes – I have some general hardware recommendations here.

The basics are:


I need a document camera at home. What do you recommend?
Here is the one that I use at home and think is great.

Are there other examples of virtual cameras that I can use in Zoom
Yes - LoomieLive is one. You can create your own avatar here.
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